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Michelle Waterson and Angela Hill put together an unbelievable fight at UFC Fight Night 177. In a tightly contested five round affair, Hill seemed to be in the driver’s seat after two rounds. However, the tide changed in the third round, as Waterson took Hill down and controlled her for a good portion of the round. In round four, Waterson found her striking, as she was able to land the more significant strikes. With the fight seemingly for the taking in the fifth and final round, both women had their moments. Ultimately the judges saw that Waterson had the better, as she was awarded a split decision victory.

Personally, I thought Hill won the fifth round and ultimately the fight. I however don’t see this as a robbery by any sorts. I do though think that the seventeen of eighteen takedowns stuffed by Hill should be taken more into consideration when deciding rounds.

Matches to Make: Winners

Michelle Waterson vs. Claudia Gadelha vs. Yan Xiaonan – This wasn’t my first choice in terms of an opponent, as I’d rather see Michelle Waterson fight Tatiana Suarez. Unfortunately, Suarez is dealing with a neck injury that has no timetable. The next best fight, is the winner of Claudia Gadelha vs. Yan Xiaonan – which takes place early November. Both fighters would be fresh opponents for Waterson, as well as presumably ahead of her on the UFC rankings.

Ottman Azaitar vs. Steven Ray – In one of the most stacked division’s in the UFC, Ottman Azaitar is certainly doing everything he can to stand out. Two fights, two first round knockouts. While it would be fun to catapult him into fights against the upper-echelon, let’s slow it down. He’s 30 years old, undefeated and has only been to the third-round twice in his thirteen professional fights. A good test for Azaitar would be Stevie Ray – who has eleven fights in the UFC and has beaten the likes Michael Johnson, Ross Pearson and Joe Lauzon.

Roxanne Modafferi vs. Viviane Araujo – Last week, I mentioned that the next fight for Viviane Araujo should be the winner of Roxanne Modafferi vs. Andrea Lee. I feel no different about it – especially given Modaferri and Araujo are respectably a spot from each other in the UFC rankings. This would be an excellent fight and opportunity for both women to catapult themselves into the top five – and contender status.

Ed Herman vs. Mike Rodriguez 2 – I can’t recall the last time I’ve something like what happened on last Saturday. In what appeared to be a body shot that dropped Ed Herman, and would of saw the fight presumably end in a TKO victory for Mike Rodriguez – was stopped for what the referee called a groin shot. The error proved costly for Rodriguez, as Herman was given time to recover and in the third round – Herman finished Rodriguez via a kimura.

Not only is that a crappy ending to a fight that Rodriguez was robbed from winning, but the kimura looked to nearly break him arm. The two things to fix this result, is to pay him his win bonus – which thankfully Dana White promised. And obviously while seeing the result be overturned to a no contest would be ideal, it’s not going to happen. So, the next best thing is to re-book the rematch.

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Bobby Green vs. Leonardo Santos – The roller coaster Bobby Green has been on since entering the UFC, has been a wild one to say the least. After a 3-0 start in the UFC, Green proceeded to go 1-5-1 in the next seven fights – getting jobbed in some decision’s and even contemplating retirement several times. However, Green stuck with and is one of the MVP’s during the COVID times. He’s 3-0 since the UFC restarted in May.

After dominating Alan Patrick and showing his well rounded game, it’s time for a bump up in competition. A perfect next fight against Leonardo Santos should be in order. The Brazilian is a perfect 7-0-1 in the UFC and hasn’t lost since 2009. You might wonder, how isn’t this guy a champion? A contender at the very least? Well, Santos joined the UFC in 2013 – and only has fought eight times. That’s due to injuries, which have plagued his career or any momentum. Hell, Santos isn’t even ranked in the top fifteen. So, this would be a great fight that potentially gets the winner into the rankings.

Billy Quarantillo vs. Alex Caceres – I’ve been so impressed with Billy Quarantillo so far. He’s 3-0 in the UFC, and has shown different facets of his well rounded game in each fight. The durability of Billy Q is off the charts too, as he ate some heavy shots in his last two fights. I firmly believe we have something special here and I feel like a fight against Alex Caceres is a nice bump up in competition.

Also, it kind of seems that Caceres is in gatekeeper role. I mean, the last time he fought an opponent who had more than four UFC fights at the time of their encounter – was Yair Rodriguez. Since that fight, Caceres has fought eight times and four times against UFC debutant’s. To me, the Billy Q fight makes sense and stylistically would result in a barnburner.

Sijara Eubanks vs. Macy Chiasson – I can’t believe how much of an underdog Sijara Eubanks was against Juila Avila. I understood the hype of the ‘Ragin Panda’, but you can’t discredit the fact that Eubanks is well rounded and physically strong. I mean, I understand her record isn’t great and the Bethe Correia loss is plain bad – but it’s not like Avila had excellent takedown to negate the wrestling of Eubanks.

Anyways, Eubanks was scheduled to fight Macy Chiasson at UFC Fight Night 177. Unfortunately Chiasson pulled out, but if she’s ready to go – this fight makes a lot of sense still.

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Kevin Croom vs. Julian Erosa – One of the biggest winner’s last Saturday is undoubtedly Kevin Croom. Talk about a guy who made the most of his “second” opportunity. If you recall, two weeks prior, Croom was signed to fight Alex Caceres. For unknown reasons, he was released 24 hours later – never getting to realize his UFC dream. The UFC came calling though again, needing him on day’s notice and up a weight class against Roosevelt Roberts.

The debut would only last 31 seconds, as Croom tagged and submitted Roberts. It was a surprising result to say the least, but I’ve been around to know that you just can’t predict mixed martial arts. A good next fight for Croom would be against Julian Erosa. Another guy who made the most of a short notice opportunity – albeit his third appearance with the promotion. However, he too was a big underdog and surprised many by beating an undefeated Sean Woodson. All in all, I feel like this would be an appropriate fight for the too, and quite frankly a fun one for as long as it lasts.

Alexander Romanov vs. Marcos Rogerio de Lima – It took five hectic month’s before Alexander Romanov debuted in the UFC – as his debut was originally set for April 25th. Due to the coronavirus, that event was cancelled. When the UFC restarted, Romanov was pegged to fight Marcin Tybura on July 11. However, Romanov was removed after testing positive for COVID-19. Nearly two month’s later, Romanov was set to fight Marcos Rogerio de Lima on September 9th. That fight went array, as de Lima tested positive for COVID-19, thus scrapping the fight. Then out of the blue, with four day until the next event – Romanov was added to card against Roque Martinez.

In less than ideal circumstances, Romanov put in an excellent performance and dominated Martinez – ultimately winning via TKO. What should be next for ‘King Kong’ is a re-booking against Marcos Rogerio de Lima. At age 29, Romanov is practically a baby at Heavyweight. Let’s ease him in.

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Jalin Turner vs. Joel Alvarez – After Jalin Turner’s fight on September 5th was scrapped due to Thiago Moises testing positive for COVID-19 – fate would have it that the following week a Lightweight was needed to fight Brok Weaver. Turner answered the call and rather easily took out Brok Weaver via submission.

While I could see the UFC re-book Turner against Moises, I’m going in a different direction here. I liken an opponent who can match Turner’s size and test his ground game – like Joel Alvarez. The Spaniard has won two fights in a row, the last being of which he submitted and retired Joe Duffy. Stylistically both present issues for each other, which makes for a fun fight.

Bryan Barberena vs. Tim Means – A layoff of over a year, caused by a spinal surgery kept Bryan Barberena from gracing the octagon. However, Barberena returned and with fashion. While defending nineteen of twenty-five takedowns attempted by Anthony Ivy, Barberena never stopped going forward and throwing strikes. His cardio didn’t seem like it used too, but still held up. A great next fight for ‘Bam Bam’ would be against Tim Means. Another guy who is a volume striker with good cardio. Not only would it be an entertaining fight, but both respectably haven’t been able to put up consecutive wins since 2016. This would be the opportunity.

Sabina Mazo vs. Taila Santos – Perhaps behind on the scorecards, Sabrina Mazo took the fight into her own hands – knocking Justine Kish down with a head-kick and then latching onto a fight ending rear-naked-choke. Now, with three straight wins, the ‘Colombian Queen’ is starting to assent in the Flyweight division. A good next fight would be against Taila Santos, who rebounded from her first professional loss – defeating Molly McCann. Both women are outside the top fifteen, but I have a feeling aren’t too far off. Perhaps, a fight against other would elevate the winner inside the rankings.

Matches to Make: Losers

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Angela Hill vs. Marina Rodriguez – I feel for Angela Hill, as she’s now been on the losing end of a split decision in back to back fights. Even worse is that according to MMADecisions, of Hill’s three split decision losses in the UFC, the majority of the media recorded thought Hill won all three. Regardless, Hill’s stock didn’t drop after this fight. She is still in the mix and should get a top ten opponent. Given the landscape, Marina Rodriguez who check’s in at #9 in the UFC rankings and is coming off a loss to Carla Esparza makes sense.

Khama Worthy vs. Lando Vannata – While Khama Worthy suffered a setback last Saturday, you can’t forget the two big wins he had prior. I don’t necessarily see Worthy making a run in the lightweight division, more so than being in really entertaining fights. And one that would catch my eye, would be against the always entertaining Lando Vannata.

Andrea Lee vs. Alexis Davis – After a 3-0 start in the UFC, Lee has all but sputtered that hot start with three consecutive losses. Another fighter who is on a three fight skid in the division is Alexis Davis. Given the losing streaks of both women, and the fact that they are within two ranking spots of each other – this fight is definitely one to book.

Alan Patrick vs. Alexander Yakovlev – At 37 years old and years of inactivity due to injuries, Alan Patrick seems to be coming to the end of the road. However, if Patrick has some fight left in him – a bout against Alexander Yakovlev would be ideal.

Kyle Nelson vs. Justin Jaynes – While Kyle Nelson hasn’t fared well in the UFC thus far, he still brings forth an entertaining fight style worth keeping around. Another guy with a similar style is that of Justin Jaynes – who stormed into the UFC with a 41 second knockout victory over Frank Camacho. Unfortunately Jaynes couldn’t repeat his success in his next UFC bout, but his style is fan friendly like that of Nelson. So why not book these two strikers up?

Julia Avila vs. Nicco Montano – Julia Avila’s hype might of dissipated some, but with her skills, she should be able to rebegin her assent up the division. A fight against the Ultimate Fighter 26 winner Nicco Montana would provide a stiff test and not to mention – was supposed to happen twice already now.

Roosevelt Roberts vs. Alex White – One of the biggest losers on Saturday was Roosevelt Roberts. Once looked at as a fighter with potential to make some noise at Lightweight, instead has now lost back-to-back fights. And while that’s not a death sentence, losing to a short notice fighter in Kevin Croom – who had 12 losses in 33 fights and was a heavy underdog is certainly not a good look. A good bounce back fight would be against a tough out in Alex White, who has struggled to build on anything thus far in the UFC.

Roque Martinez vs. Jake Collier – Roque Martinez stepped up to the plate and fought Alexander Romanov on very short notice. While Martinez was outmatched, he showed heart and shelled up defensively pretty well. Of the 160 total strikes Romanov threw at him, mind you most of them came from Romanov on top – only 60 landed on Martinez. Pretty impressive if you ask me. A good next fight for Martinez would be against Jake Collier – who in 2016 was a Middleweight, but has over the years risen up weight classes to now Heavyweight. Collier last fought in July on Fight Island.

Brok Weaver vs. Frank Camacho – Both men were supposed to fight last Saturday until Frank Camacho tested positive for COVID-19. After being removed from the card, Brok Weaver received a tough short notice opponent in Jalin Turner. While the fight didn’t go Weaver’s way, I expect him to still be given another chance. In my opinion they should re-book this fight, as both men are both at the crossroads here.

Anthony Ivy vs. Cole Williams – Well, at least you can say the second go around for Anthony Ivy was much better than his debut – which lasted only 59 seconds. The only problem this time around was that Ivy stuck to attempting to take Bryan Barberena down way too long. If you attempt twenty four takedowns and you only succeeded to get five, you might want to strike more. Anyways, if the UFC gives Ivy a third crack, Cole Williams would be the ideal way to go here.

Justine Kish vs. J.J. Aldrich – I’m not sure if Justine Kish was winning her fight until Sabrina Mazo ended her night – but you can’t deny that she looked very good up until losing. The real issue Kish had, was she wasn’t respecting Mazo’s head kicks. And she paid for that dearly. If healthy, I’d like to see Kish get back in there against J.J. Aldrich.

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